Westinghouse-Infinity deal gets tentative OK

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The Justice Department is giving the go-ahead to Westinghouse Electric's $3.9 billion purchase of Infinity Broadcasting, but only if Westinghouse agrees to sell WBOS-FM in Boston and MMMR-FM in Philadelphia.

The proposed settlement indicates that the Justice Department will question a deal if the combined entity has more than 40% of the radio advertising market in one city. The American Association of Advertising Agencies had expressed concern with deals that gave a single broadcaster too strong control of advertising, claiming they could raise ad prices or give broadcasters the power to force marketers to buy advertising on unwanted stations.

Interestingly, the Justice Department, in explaining which stations, would have to be sold, said that in Boston and Philadelphia, the merger would give the broadcasters too much control of advertising aimed at a specific target market. WBOS-FM aims at 25-to-45-year-olds, while WMMR combines rock and sports programming aimed at a similar audience.

The combined company will be radio's biggest with 77 radio stations in 13 markets.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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